June 25th, 2008
11:49 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama says Dobson 'making stuff up'


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/25/art.obamadobson.gi.jpg caption="Obama says Dobson is "making stuff up.""](CNN)— Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday night evangelical leader James Dobson was “making stuff up,” when he accused the Illinois senator of distorting the Bible and taking a "fruitcake interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution.

“Any notion that I was distorting the Bible in that speech, I think anyone would be hard pressed to make that argument,” Obama told reporters on board his press plane Tuesday night.

Obama's past comments came front and center Tuesday when Dobson criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee’s June 2006 speech on his Focus on the Family radio show.

Watch: Schneider reports on Obama v. Dobson

In the speech, Obama suggested that it would be impractical to govern based solely on the word of the Bible, noting that some passages suggest slavery is permissible and eating shellfish is disgraceful.

Earlier: Evangelist accuses Obama of 'distorting' Bible

"Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?" Obama asked in the speech. "Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?"

Obama responded Tuesday saying the speech underscored the notion he is a man of faith and highlighted the importance that people like him who find faith important “try to translate our concerns in a universal language so that we can have open and vigorous debate.”

Responding to the comments, Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus Action, said "There is no need to 'make stuff up' as it relates to Sen. Obama's interpretation of Scripture and the role of religion in the public square."

"His statements and record make clear his questionable perception of both. To argue that the Sermon on the Mount invalidates the Defense Department - as if Jesus Himself didn't have anything to say about the existence of good and evil and the need to combat evil - is about as deep as anyone needs to go to understand where the senator is coming from," Minnery also said. "He is editing God's word to fit his liberal worldview, and the more exposure his views on these matters get, the more obvious this will become to American Christians."

soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. Lisa

    Now I see why you need the Clinton's help!!

    June 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    By the way...McCain won't even talk about his relegion. When they held a talk on faith, Hilary and Barack attended. Where was McCain? He told reporters, it was private! He was too busy offering tax free holiday gimmicks, and showing his balck and white photos of his POW days.

    Give me a break!

    June 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Vicki Webster

    Obama why dont you and your wife give up this charade. Go back to your real self both of you. Go back to Rev. Wright, that is were you and your wife alligiancy are. I rather vote for Bush again then you.

    June 25, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Dobson,give up your millions to the poor and truely follow Jesus.

    June 25, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Barbara

    This is exactly why religion should have nothing at all to do with politics or government. You're talking about interpretation of the bible! There are probably as many interpretations as there are people reading it. When it comes to governing a country of 300 million people, we must simply agree to disagree on matters of faith. No person or group should be imposing their beliefs on the rest of us.

    June 25, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. Democrate is the only way

    I'm sure Dobson was making stuff up. Religious nut and far to the right. YOU FOLKS HAVE NOTHING LEFT!!!! Welcome to a real presidents world. Obama is going to run this country in 5 months so get used to it.

    June 25, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. K

    Mr Obama should go with the great commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

    June 25, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Frank, Atlanta, GA



    VOTE OBAMA 2008....IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Chris from San Antonio

    I think it's funny a constitutioanl law scholar would be accused of taking a "fruitcake" interpretation of the Constitution while even Christians themselves can't decide on a single interpretation of the Bible.

    June 25, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Earl

    These bible thumpers like to twist the bible the way that suits them.

    I'm waiting for someone to do a background check on Dobson, He sounds like he likes little boys (the fruity voice is a give away)

    His 15 minutes of fame will disappear as did (remember BAKER, SWAGGART).

    June 25, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. David in Chicago

    Dobson is a narrow minded merchant of absolutism and hatred. He is an extremist multi-millionaire whom is corrupt and wishes to bring the world back to the stone ages with his fundamental interpretation of the good book. Jesus would be ashamed of this man!

    He is incapable of even challenging Obama whom is a professor and expert on US Constitutional law.

    Funny, these guys claimed Obama was a Muslim and here Obama is holding his own debating with a religious nut about scripture. lol

    Dobson is precisely why we keep religion and government separate.

    June 25, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. God of Relationship Not Religion

    As usual the extreme conservatives who argue the Bible is the only absolute truth want to throw it into the face of someone who like Christ taught accepts all people. The church is full of these dead religious people and it is time "love one another" became the scripture we focus on. Go Obama!

    June 25, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Enlightened Voter

    Obama could never be wrong. He is the savior and messiah that is written about in the bible. At least the one who will unite the arab world. I just love him. Shame on Mr. Dobson.

    June 25, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    It makes me sick to think of the thousands of dollars I sent to Dobson's organization in the '90's-when i bought into and believed all his phony right wing crap. Dobson wouldn't know Jesus Christ if he walked in the front door. What about PEACE and love and respect of your fellow man and showing kindness, Mr. Dobson? Instead, you support narrow mindedness, war, greed and the "American" way.
    "...your old road is rapidly aging/Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand/For the times they are a-changin'".

    June 25, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA




    June 25, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. Rebecca

    I get so tired of religious zealots thinking that it is their place to interpret the bible for the rest of us. Let's be honest here, the bible has been bastardized for centuries by men with an agenda, men just like Dobson. Obama comes along and makes a reasonable and realistic statement and it is blown way out of proportion and completely twisted. Utterly ridiculous comments.

    To Dobson: "Stop using my name to justify your hatred." ~ JC

    June 25, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |

    dont see a thing of distortion. only in his mind he sounds like he had to much holy wine.

    June 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. Dobbsonizlooney

    Wow...so now that Dobson has exhausted any intelligent criticism of Obama, he's throwing out the "he's distorting the good book'" tirade. So sad, will someone please give Mr Dobson a hug and a cookie?

    June 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. Bishop

    What is a distortion is the "NEW'/"OLD" testament. Jews believe that their is only ONE testament. Furthermore, Exodus 21:1-4 IS the Torah and does speak of slavery [Hebrews...], however, this is what Sen Obama is talking about. “[T]ry to translate our concerns in a universal language so that we can have open and vigorous debate.” This would include Judaism, Christian, Catholic, and Muslims. We all live in this country, but not all of us totally believe in the same rules. Therefore, we ALL have to find a common ground to have a reasonable debate on the matters. We have to be willing to except loses in order to gain...and its not all about the evangelicals....

    June 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. Valerie

    Obama is right.

    June 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. pam Eugene OR

    Here comes the kitchen sink from the right wings religious nuts! Utter nonsense.

    June 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  22. Michelle

    A "true man of faith" doesn't sit in a racist church for twenty years and give money to that "church."

    Just because Obama says it doesn't make it so. Voters are catching on:

    "Voters say McCain better suited to handle Iraq than Obama "
    (AP Washington)

    June 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Caryn, WDC

    Dobson is a hack.

    Obama '08

    June 25, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Terry in El Paso, TX

    It is hypocritical for Dobson to accuse Obama of cherry-picking verses from the Bible. Dobson bases his opposition to homosexuality on a verse from Leviticus, but he does not mention the much more frequent condemnation of pork-eating.

    The current version of Christianity espoused by Dobson and his televangelical brethren is a new Christianity that was not found in America a century ago, or in Europe five centuries ago, or in Rome sixteen centuries ago. These fundamentalist leaders have cooked up a new theology by cherry picking verses.

    They like bacon and ham so they ignore the prohibition of pork. They don't want to marry their dead brother's widow, so they ignore that and all other references to polygamy that permeate the Bible. They don't like homosexuality, so they hold up one verse prohibiting man with man – and then they extend it to a prohibition of lesbianism; something the Bible does not speak of at all.

    Dobson does not hold the copyright on Christianity. It belongs to all Christians. Christianity is many faiths. All Christians say the same words, but the live very differently according to the rules they each have chosen.

    The best Christians are in the pews. The man behind the pulpit is often not among them.

    June 25, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. AMRob

    Has anyone else noticed that, when the concept of modeling modern government on archaic religious texts is challenged, the response is "no, look...we changed it, it's culturally valid now." Dobson's response regarding the outdated information no longer having any bearing on modern-day life ignores the fact that the concepts that are still considered to be in effect are of the same stripe and vintage as the concepts that have been discarded as "outdated".

    The only reason the Dobson objected to Obama's use of the Bible is because the Bible is supposed to be the conservatives' tool of misdirection. How dare a liberal point out the obvious flaws of governing a 21st century civilization using a 2nd century text?? Really, the nerve of some people.

    June 25, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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